Housing association Home Group has seen its turnover grow despite the challenges of the pandemic.
The Newcastle organisation, which is building a prominent new headquarters close to the city’s St James’ Park, has released its annual report which reveals that turnover grew 6% to £429.9m.
But its operating profit fell by more than £10m to £68.9m, partly as a result of a fall in income from disposing of existing housing properties, but also due to a significant impairment on an affordable housing scheme.
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Home Group added that it had created more than 1,000 new homes, though this was slightly below its target amid a pause in construction activity at the start of the pandemic and actions to secure the organisation’s cash position.
The homes were a mixture of properties for affordable rent and home ownership, new homes for sale and properties delivered within joint ventures.
Chairman John Cridland said: “Every year, without fail it seems, there are challenges put in front of us – be they political, economic or social. And every year we rise to those challenges.
“However, this past year has challenged us like never before. Covid-19 has tested every inch of our business, our energy and resolve, our values and our strength of character.
“I’m proud to say that we’ve stood up to every test we’ve faced. Colleagues should be immensely proud of what they’ve achieved in the face of such adversity. I know I am.
“Even with the forecasted dips in some areas of our operation due to Covid-19, our overall performance was once again strong.”
In the annual report, Home Group said that a planned re-launch of its
five-year strategy in 2021 had been delayed by the pandemic and other challenges, and would now happen next April.
It said its asset base remained strong at £684m, while cash and undrawn facilities available to it at year end stood at £431m.
But it warned that building supplies and materials were becoming more
difficult to source, and also highlighted that the removal of a number of
Government support measures linked to the pandemic could impact many of its customers.
Home Group said that it was at or above average data for industry peers in six of its KPIs, including average repair time and overheads as a percentage of turnover.
But it was below industry averages in another seven areas, including new supply of social housing and arrears.
It said this was due to “sensible decision making as we monitored the external environment during the pandemic” and did not believe any action to reverse the trend was necessary.